Volunteer Guidelines

The purpose of the Meals On Wheels program is to support elderly and disabled people in their homes by providing nutritious and satisfying meals on a regular basis. It also supplies important social contact and safety check for someone who might be alone most of the time. As a Meals on Wheels volunteer you can expect to deliver between 2 and 14 meals on a regular basis. Your route could take a half hour to one hour depending on which route you deliver. All meals for the routes in Brattleboro, Guilford , Dummerston and Marlboro are made in the kitchen of The Brattleboro Senior Center. The meals are ready to be picked up at 10:45 AM.

Here are some guideline to follow when delivering Meals on Wheels:

The elderly and disabled people who receive MOW’s are often frail and isolated in their homes due to poor health. Because you may be the only one who sees them during the day it is important to ask how they are doing, see if they need anything and offer them a friendly smile.

Confidentiality is something every MOW’s recipient is entitled to. Please do not discuss with others what you might see or hear when delivering MOWs. If you do notice something that is unusual or disturbing (meals not being eaten, a person seems sick or disoriented) please report it to Chris McAvoy or The BSM staff member in charge. Emergency numbers for all recipients are kept in the Senior Center. Brattleboro Senior Solutions also maintains a senior advocate staff office in The Brattleboro Senior Center to further assist seniors of Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Marlboro and Vernon with any issues that they are having.

Contributions are an important source of income for the MOWs. The suggested donation is $3.50 a meal. What the client actually donates is up to them. Envelopes are provided to the MOW recipients on a weekly basis for this purpose. The BSM receives federal and state money from the Senior Solutions to provide meals for it’s home bound residents. The money covers only a portion of the costs involved in providing MOW to the clients. The rest is made up from participant donations and fund raising.  Do not solicit donantions!  No one is denied a meal because they cannot or will not pay for it.

If you receive an envelope with a donation, please make sure it is sealed and return it to :

Brattleboro Senior Meals

207 Main Street

Brattleboro, Vermont 05301

or to Chris McAvoy.


If your schedule changes, if your are delayed or if you are ill and you cannot deliver meals on a certain day, please contact Chris McAvoy at 257-1236 as soon as possible so a substitute can be found to deliver your meals. Many seniors are quite dependent on these meals and eagerly await the delivery of their lunch each day.

Delivering hot and cold food safely is another important consideration. Most MOWs have a hot and cold component. BSM will provide the volunteers with an appropriate container in which to deliver meals in to ensure that the meals are delivered at the proper temperature. If you have any concerns about the safety of the food that you are delivering, please see Chris or speak to the head cook in the kitchen.

DO NOT LEAVE A MEAL IF NO ONE IS HOME UNLESS INDICATED ON THE ROUTE SHEET. Please return the meal to the Meal Site and inform staff that recipient is not responding. A door hanger is available to leave on the client’s door, informing them to contact the Meals-On –Wheels office.

There are some things volunteers should not do when delivering meals, these include lifting or carrying a recipient, administering medication or providing any medical care, accepting gifts of any kind from clients, delivering meals if you are sick or uncomfortable doing so.

BSM provides liability coverage on an excess basis for employees and volunteers. If you have an accident while delivering MOW, your insurance will be billed first. BSM will cover any excess liability cost, but this does no include physical damage to your car. You must sign your volunteer application regarding this first.
If you wish to have a meal for yourself when delivering, please see Chris prior to your delivery so that it can be arranged.

Parking is an important issue in Brattleboro. All volunteers need to display a volunteer sign on their passenger side dashboard when in the Senior Center Parking lot or delivering meals. The Brattleboro Parking enforcement has agreed to recognize the dashboard sign as a legitimate reason for your car to be in the Senior Center Parking Lot, However, if you must park illegally because there are no spaces, leave your flashers on and do not leave your car unattended for more than a few minutes.

If you arrive at someone’s home and the person does not respond to your knock as usual, please follow these guidelines:

Try to open the door, call out the person’s name. Call again loudly. The person may be hard of hearing. Wait
If the door is locked, you see no one around, please cal a BSM staff member to inform them of this

If you enter a house and find the meals recipient is to ill or unconscious follow this emergency procedure.

  1. Ask them if they can speak and ask them if they need help
  2. Try to determine if they are breathing
  3. If there is no response call 911
  4. It always helps to communicate with the person. Tell them you are there and that help is on the way
    Stay with them until help arrives
  5. Inform BSM staff when time permits